This research studies the short-term effects of the Russian Excellence Initiative Project 5–100 on participating universities. To trace the effect, we develop a quasi-experimental methodology. A control group of universities comparable to the Project 5–100 universities at the starting point of the program’s implementation was singled out using propensity score matching. Data envelopment analysis was conducted, and the Malmquist productivity index was calculated to trace how and why the efficiency of the “participants” and “nonparticipants” of the Project 5–100 has changed. We find statistically significant positive effects of the policy both on the productivity and on the efficiency of the participating universities.